Fighting Canada's Drug Addiction

We get so many things from China. Some good, some not so much. We can thank them for making so many products affordable that we’ve been able to put more presents under the tree during Christmas. In producing all that stuff, China is the world leader in releasing CO2, which contributes to climate change. They are also a world leader in supplying countries with synthetic opioids. 

Many of these drugs get routed back here to Canada through Mexico and the United States. This has contributed to an opioid death crisis in this country, the likes of which has never been seen. 

To handle this crisis, over a decade ago British Columbia, Canada’s drug epicentre, decided to give free drugs - a safe supply to addicts. In 2011, after the Supreme Court of Canada approved safe injection sites and they soon began popping up across the country. Many at the time cheered this decision, (like this is something to celebrate).   I must admit, at the time I supported the decision as it would save lives in the immediate, but always felt long term it was nothing more than a band-aid solution. 

Fast forward, and today safe supply is still front and centre in our drug strategy. Yes, giving people free drugs is still how we fight the drug problem in Canada.  Stroll down any major city and the addicts have never been more visible and in greater number. Sadly, the deaths from overdose are at record levels too. Twenty a day, according to the current ad running by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.  I have been patiently waiting, for a program that intuitively makes no sense, to bring desired results. Instead the problem only gets worse. 

To be fair, the pandemic response made things even more grim. It is why I screamed here many times to stop the lockdowns which have exacerbated so many problems for the most vulnerable in our communities. Sadly, what’s done is done, and we have to move forward now with a new strategy - that actually works. 

Safe supply on its own is not the saviour. It’s a life preserver that keeps you afloat, but doesn’t get you out of the shark infested waters.  By this point, I thought we would have done more in prevention and treatment - the strategies that we know work. 

Cutting safe supply, without a comprehensive drug treatment program in place would be wrong. That’s why I believe the Supreme Court allowed it in the first place. Drug prevention is fine, but again it is incomplete and shows little compassion for those currently suffering. 

All experts seem to agree that drug treatment is the answer, but it will be very expensive. For a country that can’t seem to properly fund a health care system for law abiding, tax paying citizens, finding the political will to prioritize funding for those of questionable blame has gone nowhere. 

If only this country had the resources to sell to the world to get its fiscal house back in order to once again have the bounty to serve the needs of ALL of its citizens.  Oh that’s right we do! We are world leaders in Oil and gas. Unfortunately, our misguided decision not to cash in these economic blue chips has left us rationing health care, among other needs. 

If your solution is to print money or increase taxes even more, we've tried that. Increased money supply fuels inflation which creates even more inequity. The tax burden is already high and is negatively impacting our nation's productivity. 

The moral crusade for Canada to fight the world’s climate change, that we contribute very little too, has intentionally impoverished this country. If that sounds harsh, do we not judge a society by how it treats its most vulnerable. Again, look around. How are we doing by that measure?

It’s time for Canadians to wake up to the fact that if China continues to do little to reduce its own CO2, our efforts will do nothing to move the climate change needle. But our self-inflicted economic rationing is causing real pain and suffering for those at home. The very people who in too many cases are addicted to a steady supply of cheap drugs - from China. 

I love this country because its people have a conscience.  Doing right by the planet is noble and virtuous. But doing it on the backs of the poor - when the impact is dubious is not.  The world’s addiction to oil and gas will not go on forever. We should profit from it now while we can and lead research into a game changing clean power that we can sell to the world - including China.  With oil revenues flowing we can afford that AND we can fund a true universal healthcare system that provides world class drug treatment for those in need. 

Or we can do the same and keep giving addicts free drugs on “compassionate” grounds. If we soon can't afford to even do that, I am sure there is a cheap supplier the government can source - from China.

By Gregory Cawsey

is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts right to your inbox become a free subscriber. No obligations. No cost. Can opt out any time. Or consider making a paid contribution for comments, transcripts and to support my work. Click HERE